DOGS: Debunking Common Myths

By Dr. Lidja Gillmeister, La Jolla Veterinary Clinic

We love our dogs. We love our dogs so much that we spend nearly $55 billion dollars a year on their health and happiness according to the latest statistics. But when it comes to making the right financial decisions for your dog -- and saving money in the process -- it’s good to know which myths can be safely dismissed so you don’t have to shell out unnecessary cash.

Of course, if you are unsure of what to do when it comes to your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to call us at 858-454-6155 or visit us online at

for more information on pet care and health.


We get a lot of phone calls about dry noses. If your dog has a dry nose without any other symptoms, chances are your house is just too dry. Consider adding a humidifier to increase the moisture in your home. If other symptoms are present, it’s a good idea to give our office a call.


Some pet owners think adding garlic to dog food will ward off fleas. Garlic does very little to prevent flea infestations and owners are far better off using flea medication such as pills or topical drops. Garlic may even be harmful due to chemicals that can raise heart rate, and garlic can even cause blood problems (hemolytic anemia). Don’t add anything to your dog’s food unless we advise you.


Some pet owners believe that chewing on pet toys is enough to take care of your dog’s teeth. Unfortunately, plaque is relentless and can easily build up on your dog’s teeth. You should manually brush your dog’s teeth a couple times a year with pet toothpaste. We can also remove plaque for advanced dental conditions.


Microchips causing cancer is likely a myth despite claims from pet owners that the devices caused tumors or cancer in their dog. Although there aren’t any specific studies to support or deny the claim, only a small number of pets with microchips were reported to have adverse effects from the implant.


While it’s true that bathing your pet too often can cause drying, when done properly it should not have a negative effect on your dog’s coat. It should not be a problem to bathe your dog as needed – especially depending on activity level – as long as it’s with a dog-specific, mild shampoo with a moisturizing oatmeal base. Brush your dog daily to disperse natural oils, help with shedding and to beautify the coat.